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How to Journal Like You Mean It

- pictures of blank or filled journal

- pictures of journal accessories like pens and stickers

- flat lay of everything together

Have you thought about diving into the mysterious and daunting world of journaling every day? Well, I promise it's not as scary as it seems. Here's why.

I've been writing in a journal for just a few months now, but I've already experienced pretty significant changes in my mindset and communication. When I started journaling, I was down bad to be honest. I was struggling with relationships, time management and burnout. I always complained about my problems and was generally a nuisance to be around most times. Now, I speak infrequently and only when I have something constructive to add, and I found the root of my burnout issues.

Flatlay of a journal
My third journal since last December and my preferred pen.

My first entry was at 1 in the morning on a cold December night. I couldn't sleep and had been toying with the idea of writing down my thoughts. I was desperate to try anything to help with my depression and anxiety, so I said screw it and grabbed a notebook. I wrote 6 pages (front and back) that night and crashed as soon as I got in my bed. I poured my heart out on to those pages and emptied my mind. I have a hard time sleeping most nights because I have so many things racing through my mind, and I can't shut it off. Journaling actually helped calm that down.

I'm on my third journal now, so I'm by no means experienced or even that knowledgeable about how to journal, but I wanted to share what I DID find out. Journaling feels like it literally takes a weight off my shoulders. It clears my chaotic mind and in a constructive way. I don't feel like I'm wasting time writing because I know it benefits me so much. When I started, I didn't know what to write about, so I just wrote about everything giving me anxiety or stress. After a while of talking to myself this way, I realized how annoying it is to hear someone constantly talk negatively and never supportively. I decided to be more constructive with my writing. If this is going to be a conversation, it needs to be informative and engaging.

That's where Stoicism comes into play. I had been called stoic for years and never knew what it meant until that December of last year. I looked into the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus to start and found that I connected with a lot of what they say and explore as a philosophy. I started to have a structure to my journaling as Stoicism and journaling go hand in hand. I won't go into crazy detail about the actual philosophy, I only wanted to make the point that a philosophy gave my writing structure. If you can find a lifestyle that you connect with, it can help guide your writing and thought process.

Flatlay of a green journal
My new journal from BestSelf Co. is focused on burnout.

Closeup of a logo on a green journal
BestSelf Co. makes great journals, planners and other tools to help you throughout your daily routines.

I now write about anything causing me worry in an objective way: I address the situation and explore how it will realistically impact me and my time. That exercise almost always makes the situation much more digestible and less worrisome. Other than that, I write about quotes that pique my interest and exercise gratitude and pride. I try to find something or someone I am thankful for each day to foster a more positive mindset, along with something I did that day that made me proud of myself. I sometimes struggle with self-worth and these exercises help to ease that tension.

Recently I've been exploring my burnout in work and my personal life, but that will be another post exploring how I found the root of the issue through deductive reasoning and self-assessment. To conclude this post, I just want to emphasize that with journaling, there is no strict way to do it. You just need to start. Write about your day, what you felt, what made you happy or sad or what goals you may have for the future. The first page can even be an introduction to yourself based on how you see yourself right now. Then you could do the same exercise at the end to see how you've grown. There are options.

I know this is a little different from my usual post, but it's been my newest obsession and I've been evangelizing everyone I know to start because of how much it helped me. Hopefully this longer-than-usual post helps you consider your personal growth journey a little bit more and leads to something special in your future.

Thanks for reading. Now go do something awesome.


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